Ship details: A wooden ship, the Tiri, having been built in 1931 by G.T. Nicol of Auckland. The vessel was 101 feet long and 169 tons gross.
In August 1966 Radio Hauraki chooses their transmission vessel The M.V. TIRI – she needed a lot of work on her though before she would be ready for the rough International waters just beyond New Zealand’s 3 mile limit.
On Friday September 16th, 1966, one day before setting sail the TIRI was detained. Hauraki is prevented in taking the TIRI to sea – by the Government. 11am October 1st 1966: The TIRI is still berthed at the Western Viaduct in Auckland.
Sunday October 23rd, 1966: THE BATTLE OF THE TIRI. The Hauraki crew decide to set sail. The TIRI gets stuck up against the draw bridge but with a little help from a 200 strong crowd who were lined up along the wharf to see what was happening. The TIRI is set free and starts sailing but eventually the police t a stop to the TIRI going any further by pulling the fuel line which shut down the main engine. The Hauraki crew were arrested and the TIRI put back to its berth all to the disappointment of the Hauraki fans but were later set free on bail in the early hours of Monday October 24th 1966..
Wednesday, 2nd November – Monday,7th November, 1966: Hauraki directors in court over the detaining orders of the TIRI. Hauraki wins. The Government had detained the TIRI to stop it being used as a pirate radio station NOT because the TIRI was to be surveyed before being allowed to be put out to sea.
10pm, Thursday, November 10th, 1966: The TIRI set sail again with hardly any one insight except for 3 young teenage Hauraki fans who had been asked to keep the TIRI’s departure a secret for at least an hour. The dream was nearly complete. All that was needed now was to get the TIRI beyond the NZ 3-mile limit and into international waters, start the transmitter up and begin broadcasting. No news of the departure of the TIRI was broadcast on the NZBC’s final news broadcast to the exultant cheer of the Hauraki crew aboard the TIRI.
6:30am, Friday, 11th November 1996: The TIRI anchors at what would be her home, or the closet to it, for the next 31/2 years.
On 27th January 1968 the ship began to drift towards the dangerous rocks between Okupu and Tryphena. The Captain made makeshift repairs but it was not enough. At 23:16 listeners were shocked to hear Paul Lineham say “Mayday!, Mayday!, Mayday!, this is the Tiri and we are drifting onto the rocks at the entrance to Whangaparapara Harbour. Would anyone listening to this get in touch with Musick Point radio station. Mayday!, Mayday!, Mayday!”. More urgent calls were made, and at 23:24 normal broadcasts ceased, the microphone was left open and the sound of the ship pounding against the rocks could be heard. At 23:31 hours Mr Gibbs a fisherman and owner of the Tryphena Stores at Shoal Bay arrived in his launch, the Marauder, he was soon joined by another launch, a yacht and the fishery protection ship, Kahawa. Mr Gibbs managed to get a line aboard the Tiri but could not move her, the Kahawa then tried but only managed to nearly pull herself onto the rocks. Both vessels then tried together but only managed to get the tow rope tangled in the Kahawa’s propeller. Later the minesweeper Inerall, arrived but also failed to pull the Tiri clear. The Tiri did not break up, but took in five feet of water. All the studio equipment was intact, the transmitter had salt water and diesel fuel damage but was considered repairable, and they were taken off the ship. On 28th January, the Tiri was inspected and was found to have major damage to the port side and possible damage to the starboard side. The ship was taken over by the insurers who appointed Captain G W Dunsford as assessor. The Tiri was patched up, and the water pumped out. During the next day the tug Sea Toiler pulled the Tiri off the rocks and towed her to Gibbs Landing, Shoal Bay arriving there at 18:30 hours. On 30th January. The Tiri was towed to Auckland and was greeted by a crowd of about three-hundred people. A thorough inspection revealed that one side of the Tiri was badly damaged, but otherwise was sound. The cost of repairs exceeded the insurance value of the ship, but the insurance did cover the cost of buying a new ship…
Offshore radio station: Radio Hauraki from 21st November 1966 to 27th January 1968. On February 28th 1968, the station returned from the Tiri II.
Location: International waters in the Colville Channel, Hauraki Gulf, North Island, New Zealand